CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A federal grand jury returned two indictments charging 10 people in connection to a drug trafficking organization.

According to United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Mike Stuart, the drug trafficking organization has ties to two criminal gangs, the Bloods and the Gangster Disciples, allegedly responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine to the Charleston area.

Stuart announced the indictments alongside Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) Jack Sparks, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ASAC Lissa Jordan, Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt, MDENT Commander Ryan Higginbotham, U.S. Marshal Michael Baylous, and Appalachia HIDTA West Virginia State Coordinator Chad Napier. 

The group said the investigation spanned nearly a year and law enforcement seized approximately 15 pounds of methamphetamine, 45 firearms, including a fully automatic weapon, and more than $375,000 in cash.

“The dismantling of this network of violent meth traffickers is a big win for law enforcement and the West Side community.”

United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Mike Stuart

Those charged in the indictments include:

Jermaine Williams, 20; Tyjaha Watson, 26; Memphis Ross, 20; Dante Williams, 24; Joshua Lawson, 30; and Darius Coles, 23, all of Charleston; as well as Myreo Dixon, 34, of Michigan: Elijah Figg, 21, of Huntington; and Kassie McNeeley, 21, of Lesage.

Nine of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in and around the Charleston area between July 2020 and Feburary 2021. The indictment also includes charges of various drug and gun crimes connected to the drug trafficking organization.

Police say in a separate indictment, Erica Ratliff, 36, of Charleston was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Stuart says others charged by federal criminal complaints in connection to the investigation include Maylik Watson, 27, Devonte Lavauhn Andrews, 28, Sydni Watson, 29, and William Edward Byers II, 44, all of Charleston, and Jaquan Jeremiah Wright, 22, of New York.

Stuart says the investigation was part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, which was established in 1982 to conduct investigate major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.